The writings of Bill Mousoulis
The 16th Athens International Film Festival
Crisis? What crisis? Judging from the lavish after-party on the Opening Night of this year’s Athens Film Festival, where the wine flowed freely and the finger-food kept multiplying, the Greek cinema scene is alive and well! Obviously appearances can be deceiving, but there is no doubt that Greek filmmakers at the moment are productive and up-beat.
The festival ran from September 15 to 26, and as usual attracted large crowds to most of the sessions. It is a very popular festival with Athenians because it unspools over the pleasant late Summer period, and screens many audience-friendly films. And it is the Greek films in particular that are eagerly anticipated and well-attended. I in fact couldn’t get into a couple of the Greek sessions, no matter how hard I waved my press pass!
from the six new Greek feature films the festival
screened, there was also a screening of
not a fan of Kokkinos’ work (she made the Alex Dimitriades film Head On, among
other films), but I admire her intelligence as a person. I had not seen Blessed last year, as I was in
the three Greek films I saw,
A more normal film, in all kinds of ways, was 45 Tetragonika (45 m2, directed by Stratos Tzitzis). In fact, it was very refreshing to see palpably “ordinary” things on the screen: the known Athenian streets, the apartment blocks, the everyday people walking around. A film ostensibly about the crisis, it follows the plucky Christina (Efi Logginou, in an amazingly natural performance) as she tries to break away from her clinging mother and live in her own apartment. We see her look for furniture, nurture an abandoned cat, and, crucially, work and work and work, to try to make ends meet. Her independence, emotionally as well as financially, is a fight. A simple film, but one that makes some nice observations about life in this current tough economic climate in Greece.
The third Greek film I saw was Tungsten (directed by Giorgos Georgopoulos), another film reflecting on the crisis in its subject matter, but this time in a high-energy, profane style. Despite its zip and zap, and the presence of the great actor Vangelis Mourikis, I found it a dead film, devoid of any humanity or intelligence.
Now that some Greek films played in the Venice Film Festival recently, with actress Ariane Labed winning Best Actress for her performance in the film Attenberg, Greek cinema is looking up again … in Melbourne, you will have a chance to see some recent Greek cinema in the upcoming Greek Film Festival, Oct 13 – 31.
© Bill Mousoulis 2010
This article first appeared in Neos Kosmos, 5 Oct, 2010. reference